A lump formed in my throat as we got closer to the street where my mother used to live. This was the first time I had traveled home knowing she wasn’t there. Typically during this time of year, I’d be excited to pull up to my mom’s house because I would have planned a few things for Mother’s Day. But not this time.
Mother’s Day is one of the most celebrated days in the nation. However, for many people, it can be a day filled with unhappiness and sorrow.
A mother’s love is unlike any other, and on Mother’s Day, we find ways to make sure she knows just how much we love her too. As children, we made cute greeting cards from the shape of our little hands for our mothers. When we get we older and get a bit more money, we present them with beautiful flowers and extravagant gifts all to see a great big smile on their face.
This day is a big deal because motherhood is a big deal. Our mothers have been with us since the day we entered this world. And it’s not even about how perfect or unperfect they are. What matters is who they are to us. A lot of people consider their mother to be their best friend.
When the day comes that you can no longer pick up the phone to call your mom, see her smile from ear to ear as you share your accomplishments, or dry your tears when life happens, it sucks.
No matter how old you may get, no one and nothing can ever replace the love for your mom. So when you lose yours, it hurts in ways you can’t begin to describe.
If your mother attends church, the expectation is that you show up on the second Sunday of May, even if you don’t go any other time of the year. The ongoing joke is Easter and Mother’s Day are the two Sundays of the year where every church pew is filled.
I remember when my mom would pin a white flower on her dress before church for Mother’s Day after my grandmother died. Traditionally, if your mother is no longer alive, you wear a white carnation, but if she is still living, you wear a red one. I didn’t adopt that practice.
So what do you do when it seems like everyone around you is celebrating their mom and yours is no longer here?
This is my second year experiencing the absence of my mother, and although I’m a mom myself, I still don’t feel like having anything to do with Mother’s Day. In time, I predict this will change, but for now, I get by in the best way that feels right for me.
If you are grieving the loss of your mom this Mother’s Day (or any day), there are ways to move forward without forgetting about the special impact she made on your life. Everyone grieves in their own way, so dealing with the pain of missing your mother may not look the same as it does for others. However, I want to share a few ideas that have been a great help to me.
Surviving Mother’s Day
Make your own traditions.
No law says you must continue to celebrate Mother’s Day the way you’ve always done it. Sometimes I think we get too caught up in traditions and what everyone else is doing. This behavior can be destructive. I have done away with a few customs as I’ve gotten older because I realized that my needs and desires have changed. Customize Mother’s Day to fit your life. You may find that a change is precisely what you need to find your happiness.
Write your mom a letter.
If there were things you never got to say to your mother before she passed, you might be feeling some regret. Personally, there were quite a few things I wanted to talk to my mom about and never did for specific reasons. So, I write her letters—it’s more like journaling (which is very beneficial by the way). Writing helps to release feelings of hurt, distress, and disappointment. I find it to be very therapeutic to pen my innermost thoughts. This is one of my favorite ways to deal with my mom not being here with me.
Look through old photos.
I love pictures because it’s like they freeze time. Sometimes, I’ll open a box of old photographs and go through them–smiling or crying at each one. Pictures are just visual reminders that your mother once walked this earth, and they’ll never let you forget her.
Get away and reflect on your blessings.
Take a break from everything–social media included. Sometimes, I like to go for a drive or take a small trip for the day to reflect on all the things I have to be grateful for. One of these things is having had the opportunity to share a part of my world with my mom. I’m also thankful for having children of my own. Never forget about the blessings you have in your present life.
Celebrate your honorary mothers.
There are a few women in my life who had stood in the gap for me when my mother wasn’t around. These women are special to me, and I like to celebrate them as well. If you have anyone in your life like this, show them how much you appreciate them. It could help you feel better to make someone else smile.
Do something that reminds you of your mother.
My mom was a very talented singer and piano player. My favorite memory is of her playing Bethoveen pieces in my grandmother’s living room. I’d dance and flip the pages for her. It was our thing. Listening to her favorite songs brings a warmth to my soul. Think of something your mom used to love and spend some time reminiscing about it.
Reach out to others who may be feeling the same way.
We all know of someone who has experienced the hurt of losing a mother. Whether she has passed away recently or many years ago, the pain always magnifies during this time of year. This is a perfect opportunity to schedule tea time and talk about your feelings with those who may be grieving just as much as you are. It helps to identify with others who have walked this journey.
Getting through Mother’s Day isn’t an easy task when the person you want to acknowledge is no longer here. The thing is to remember and honor your mom the way you see fit and learn practical ways to cope with grief. Seek professional help if you need to, but do your best to find happiness and keep moving forward.
Thank you for reading.